Core team

Robin Hewings, Programme Director

Robin is the Programme Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness. He was drawn to the issue because of the profound ways that loneliness can affect us while also being something that many of us can relate to.

Before heading up the Campaign, he led our work on policy and research, directing programmes of work on the response to Covid-19 on loneliness, the psychology of loneliness, and refreshing the Promising Approaches framework.

He also led the campaign team working in with the devolved administrations and in local areas.

Mhairi Grant, Community and Stakeholder Manager

Mhairi leads on the product, content, and community strategy for the Tackling Loneliness Hub and develops and facilitates loneliness training. Her work engages a wide range of organisations working on the issue of loneliness to create action focused dialogue and positive change.

She has expertise in developing accessible digital and print content that meets user needs and creates positive social impact.

Dr Helen MacIntyre, Head of Evidence

Helen is an experienced mixed methods researcher who has worked within and beyond academia. Her recent academic work has focused on the importance of informal school contexts for children’s peer relationships, social development and wellbeing.

Alongside this, she worked as Research and Learning Lead for Ageing Better in Camden, researching and writing about very practical solutions to tackling social isolation and loneliness among older people.

From this combination of work, she brings a strong interest in and understanding of the importance of feeling connected, the detrimental effects of loneliness across the lifespan, and of methods for studying these issues.

Programme Advisory Group

The Programme Advisory Group helps to ensure that our outputs are high quality, relevant, consistent, accessible and in line with the What Works Centre for Wellbeing approach and the aims of the Campaign. 

Paul Cann, Chair of the Programme Advisory Group

Paul Cann has led a range of voluntary organisations for almost 30 years, initially heading charities for children and young people with disabilities, and then for the last 20 years charities promoting the interests of older people, as senior Director at Help the Aged and then Chief Executive of Age UK Oxfordshire. His special interest is the impact of participation in creative arts on health, well-being and loneliness.

He is a charter member of the charity Independent Age and an Associate of the International Longevity Centre. He is Chair of the award-winning community arts enterprise Entelechy Arts; he also chairs the community singing initiative Sound Resource, and the Rodolfus Foundation, which inspires and trains enthusiastic singers from 8 upwards into young adulthood.

Paul co-founded the Campaign to End Loneliness in 2011. He was appointed OBE in the New Year’s Honours List of January 2020.

Nancy Hey, Executive Director (What Works Centre for Wellbeing)

Nancy Hey is a global leader in the field of wellbeing and Executive Director of What Works Centre for Wellbeing. Prior to setting up the Centre, she worked in the UK Civil Service in nine departments as a policy professional and coach, delivering cross UK Government policies including on constitutional reform.

She has worked with the UK’s top civil servants to introduce wellbeing into public policy and to establish the professional policy community in the UK. She has degrees in law and in coaching and development, specialising in emotions, and is a passionate advocate for learning systems.

Catherine Underwood, Corporate Director for People Services (Nottingham City Council)

Catherine is Corporate Director for People Services, including adult social care services, children’s social care, youth justice, education, early years and public health. Catherine originally studied psychology, began her career in mental health services and is a registered social worker. She has held diverse leadership roles in Local Authorities and in the NHS, working in Norfolk, Birmingham and Nottinghamshire.

She joined Nottingham City Council Council in March 2018 to lead the Adult Social Care transformation programme.  She became Director of Adult Social Care and October 2019 saw her appointment to the role of Corporate Director for People.

Professor Pamela Qualter, Professor of Psychology for Education (Manchester Institute of Education)

Pamela is Professor of Psychology for Education working at the Manchester Institute of Education at the University of Manchester. Her research is focused on the importance of social relationships, and she has two strands to her work: loneliness and peer relationship problems; and emotional intelligence. She has explored the causes and consequences of loneliness, and explored why and how people ‘get stuck’ in loneliness. Pamela led the BBC Loneliness Experiment, the world’s largest survey of loneliness.

Naomi Phillips, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy and Research (Learning and Work Institute)

Naomi is Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy and Research and Learning and Work Institute. Previously she worked at the British Red Cross as their first-ever policy and advocacy director where she built and led a UK-wide department to advocate for people in crisis. Her involved influencing and engaging activities on communities and resilience, refugees and vulnerable migrants, health inequalities, emergency response, and voluntary action.